Sunday, August 31, 2008

Worse than Katrina

Boy, if anyone's praying today, and looking for something to pray about, well, you might want to pray for the poor folks in the path of Hurricane Gustav. All the reports are saying that Hurricane Gustav is going to be worse than Hurricane Katrina.
That's pretty hard for me to imagine. I remember getting up the morning after Katrina hit, and seeing the news reports. I live in a land of dire warnings. A land where the worst is continually predicted, but never actually happens. I remember watching these news reports and being stunned, just stunned, to see that the worst had happened. My feelings that day were not so much different from the awful day I watched the endless looping of the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11th. And now they're saying that Gustav will be
Worse. Than. Katrina.
Oh my God.
I am glad to see that the government response is different. Evacuation is mandatory. And I hope that FEMA handles the situation a little better than last time. It is a sickening thing to see great fields of FEMA trailers rotting away because the agency is not organized enough to get them to people who had (have) no place to live. I think every person in America would say, "Heck yeah. It's a darn good plan to have contingency supplies to help Americans in case of disaster." We ponied up that money, and it was used to pay for things that were never even brought out in the wake of a disaster of Katrina's epic proportion. That's wrong. There is bitterness about that down south, and I don't think that's misplaced. They sell tee-shirts down there that read: 'FEMA's Emergency Plan: Run, run, as fast as you can.' I think the people are handling things just a wee bit differently this time, as well. With the memories of Katrina still fresh in their minds, people are leaving. That is something that I could not understand last time. Even after the storm was over, people were refusing to leave. 'This is my home,' they'd say. Or 'Everything I own is right here and I'm not leaving it,' or 'I've spent my whole life here.' I have been poor before, but I have never been so poor that my hard earned stuff became more important than my life. This is not just words here, because there were actually people who starved to death with their stuff.
I sit and I watch the approach of a storm. When I go to church this morning, I know that we'll pray. And the folks who have been on the teams to rebuild (our church works in Slidell), will be wondering about about the friends they left there after each trip down, after countless hours of sweating side by side with the residents of that town as everyone pitched in to rebuild. That's all any of us can do right now. Watch and pray. The residents are fleeing once again, and the whole thing takes on a sepia colored deja vu. I hope that everyone has learned something from Katrina, and I hope that they apply what they've learned from her to dealing with Hurricane Gustav. Mostly, though, I'm praying that Gustav just blows itself out before it gets here.


Hal Johnson said...

Thanks Debby. I'm in Boothville, Louisiana right now. We're staggering our takeoffs, evacuating to Tallahassee. I feel really bad for our local employees, who are looking at losing their homes AGAIN.

Writing on a tiny flight computer keyboard. I'll try to post something on my blog later.

Debby said...

You know Hal, as I was writing this, I was wondering about you, and where you were, etc. I'll add you to my list of things to pray for. I feel for Rhonda, and for Dylan, fresh off that 'break', and now worrying about 'daddy' during his 'hitch'. Take care. I'm sure we'll all be watching your blog in the coming days. Isn't strange how blogging makes families of total strangers? Take care, brother.

Mary Paddock said...

My mother told me this morning that she expects us to thank her for moving us away from the Gulf states when we were kids. I did not bother to mention the tornados and the flooding.

This is unnerving, scary, worrisome. I have a cousin there and am hoping he is among those wise enought to leave.

In the end, we can only pray that Gustav turns at the last minute and goes back the way it came.

Pencil Writer said...

As a Louisiana resident . . . I'm grateful for our current governor. Our previous one--the one we had during Katrina . . . I'll just say that in my estimation, Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagan didn't act responsibly. Period. Gov. Jindal--with the memories of Katrina so fresh--has acted far more pro-actively and early enough on that so many things have already been put in place PRIOR to land-fall.

Where we live, Katrina's effect on us was only that we assisted lots of refugee's from down south. Rita, on the other hand--had a far more physical impact on us personally. No flooding, just downed trees and powerlines.

We're praying, too, of course, for all those who will be impacted--Roung 2! I feel for those individuals who've just rebuild in the New Orleans area, etc. and just gotten back in, only in time to leave again.

Hal, bless you! And may God watch over you and yours that all will be well in the end.

We're just trying to watch and be prepared for whatever comes this way.

Stevyn Colgan said...

We don't get this kind of extreme weather over on this side of the pond (although we do have almost constant rain and crappy Summers instead) and my heart goes out to everyone who is going to have to cope with this. I just hope that Bush and his cronies deal with the after-effects more competently, sensitively and caringly than they did with Katrina. His response was an international disgrace last time.

Fingers crossed for you all over here in the UK. x

Pencil Writer said...

I know alot of people blame Pres. Bush for NOT doing enough about the affects of Katrina . . . PLEASE! He BEGGED Gov. Blanco to get people out--many days before Katrina hit. And sent all the help necessary to help out--but the Gov. was in the driver's seat. She didn't open the door.

I'm not going to verbalize all the things I could about the complete inefficiency, lack up comprehension, total incompetetence etc., etc. of Mayor Nagan and Gov. Blanco. The buck stops there--with them. THEY, not Pres. Bush, dropped that ball. Excuse me, they never took the ball. And all the FED dollars that came to help rebuild New Orleans . . . We're talking Billions with a capital "B" to rebuild. Do you think it went to that effort? Heck no! Somebody needs to do some better research.

I can't tell you all the things that I've seen in this state over the years I've lived here. Don't get me wrong, there are a LOT of wonderful people here, but the way government is run . . . The Good Ole' Boys system has been in place for so many decades... Hard to break the cycle.

Anyway, I'm trying to keep from getting more steamed about the misunderstanding so many people are under across the world about what really took place in New Orleans and many other places that were hit by Katrina 3 years ago. And don't forget the communities that were completely wiped off the map by Hurrican Rita just after Katrina--didn't get nearly the press that Katrina did. If you only knew...

Debby said...

PW - I respect your feelings. Katrina was unprecendented. We had no yardstick to measure our response by until that disaster. I really forgave Bush for things right up until he continued to defend Michael Brown long after everyone else realized that he was imcompetant. That was the good ol' boy network in action. The fact that lives were at stake while that network continued, intact, made me sick. I thought the president was wrong then. I still do think that it is wrong today. I certainly, certainly cannot begrudge citizens money to rebuild. We've got a war going on that's costing us far more.

I hope that we can continue to be friends in spite of our differences. I've really enjoyed your company here.

Pencil Writer said...

Debby! Friends, of course! I acknowledge that everyone has a different perspective! My husband and I certainly have different perspectives on a varitey of topics, an' I still love him. So, yeah. No problem, my friend. If the ENTIRE truth of it all were available to each of us from say, God's perspective, all of us down here with our imperfect, muddled views might be interestingly enlightened about many things. But we're all limited by many factors. As long as none of us gets sucked into being part of the problem, and coming to blows, I think different perspectives of events can be healthy--and enlightening. Discussion is good to enlarge our perspectives.

(I was a bit troubled by the UK perspective. I live just a little closer to the reality of what happened. And I honestly don't think Pres. Bush deserves everything that's been dumped on him. Do I agree 100% with everything he's done in office. No. But, I don't believe he's nearly the "bad guy" so many paint him as being.

Another note: Because La. Gov. B was so inept in her handling/preparations for Katrina, things just dominoed after that. So many people came to help, but because things weren't coordinated--because of Ms. Blanco's fumbling, not to mention Mayor Nagan's debacles, the "walls came tumbling down." I don't begrudge the funding coming in to help rebuild N.O. but so much of it DIDN'T GET THERE to the people! Rita victims have been so totally ignored by the media, too, because they didn't cry and moan. They took care of business because they're, in large part, the kind of people that work to take care of themselves and don't expect the government to always be their daddy and their mommy. That was such a huge part of the nasty problems that we saw constantly on TV AFTER the storm passed through. I think people need to prepare to take care of themselves. I hate the victim mentality that has become such a virulent part of our society these days. It's got "disaster just waiting to happen" written all over it.

I do feel strongly about some things--lots of things--and I felt confident that you'd accept my perspective w/o closing the door to our conversation and friendship. And I really appreciate that about you! :-}

Debby said...

As I get older, the one thing that I am accutely aware of is that the farther away from something I am, the better able I am to see it.

Me said...

I have found your blog enriching to read - your post about your world and your neighbours is really thought provoking. Like everyone here, I truly hope it is not as awful as they predict - for once - a mistake in the forecast would be wonderful news.
God Bless.

Debby said...

Welcome, Me. We are a diverse group, to be sure. And it looks like the storm was less than predicted, for which the country, no matter how diverse, joins together for a minute to be grateful and relieved.

Lavinia said...

Your concern is heartfelt, I know. I am writing after Gustav has blown off the radar screens, thankfully far less lethal than was expected....